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Best Bites

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Mornington Peninsula Shire’s ‘Best Bites’ is an industry development program, supporting the growth of local food businesses providing safe, healthy, and sustainable food on the Mornington Peninsula.

The program recognises and celebrates excellence in the food industry, including providing safe and healthy food, employing environmentally sustainable practices, and ensuring inclusive and accessible food premises.

To ensure the Best Bites program continues to provide the best recognition for businesses, the Shire has conducted an extensive review and implemented several changes.

Food Guide

The traditional printed guide will be replaced with an online business directory that promotes and supports local businesses. This digital platform allows easier access to information and updates on local food businesses, promoting and supporting them effectively.


The Best Bites Awards program has been incorporated into the Mornington Peninsula Business Excellence Awards. This integration allows us to honour and acknowledge excellence across multiple business sectors.

All food businesses, regardless of category, must now achieve a minimum score of 95% or higher on their annual food safety assessment to be eligible for the awards. This ensures commitment to maintaining high food safety standards.

Business must also demonstrate excellence in at least one of the following areas:

By encouraging businesses to excel in these crucial areas, we aim to go beyond basic food safety practices and make a meaningful impact.

Nominations for the Mornington Peninsula Business Excellence Awards have now closed.   Businesses can only enter one category in these awards. You will have to answer three (3) key questions about your business. There is a maximum word count of 1,000 words per question. Responses to these questions will determine a shortlist of entrants in each category. Each shortlisted business will receive a site visit from an independent judge to validate the responses and gain a deeper insight into the business. The judges are from the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS).

The Shire’s Best Bites program continues to recognise and promote excellence in the local food industry whilst providing safe and healthy food. The changes to the program aim to streamline the program, increase participation, and encourage businesses to excel in multiple aspects of their businesses.

For more information, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Business Category results



  • Bronze (joint) – Unica Cucina E Caffe, Capel Sound
  • Bronze (joint) – Stumpy Gully Dining, Moorooduc
  • Silver – The Kitchen, Bistro, Bar and Courtyard, Tootgarook
  • Gold – Foxeys Hangout, Red Hill


  • Rosebud RSL, Rosebud
  • Rye Hotel, Rye



  • Bronze – Two to Tango, Somerville
  • Silver – Blue Mini Cafe-eatery-emporium-events, Rosebud
  • Gold – Commonfolk Coffee Company, Mornington


  • Corner Pantry, Somerville
  • Elements Eatery, Rosebud
  • Miss Moose Tuckshop, Somerville
  • Lilo Café, Mornington



  • Gold – Mock Red Hill, Red Hill

Takeaway outlets


  • Silver – The Hive Loukoumades, Rye
  • Gold – Spudalicious, Hastings

Health and education


  • Bronze – Tyabb Village Children’s Centre, Tyabb
  • Silver (joint) – Hastings Childcare and Community Kinder, Hastings
  • Silver (joint) – Crib Point Early Learning Centre, Crib Point


  • Westernport Childcare Centre & Kindergarten, Hastings
  • Rosebud Early Learning, Rosebud
  • Toorak Caterer’s, Mount Eliza
  • Kidz Shed, Hastings



  • Bronze – La Casa Nostra Deli, Rosebud
  • Silver – Ritchies Mount Eliza, Mount Eliza
  • Gold – Be Fit Food, Mornington


  • Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, Flinders
  • Mt Eliza Village Fruits, Mount Eliza

Areas of Excellence category results

Smoke free and alcohol management


  • The Hidden Kitchen, Tootgarook

Highly Commended:

  • Crib Point Early Learning Centre, Crib Point
  • Tyabb Village Children’s Centre, Tyabb

Nutrition and healthy eating


  • Blue Mini Cafe-eatery-emporium-events, Rosebud

Highly Commended:

  • Toorak Caterer’s, Mount Eliza
  • Hastings Childcare and Community Kinder, Hastings

Access and inclusion


  • Itsa Burger, Rosebud

Highly Commended:

  • Tyabb Village Children’s Centre, Tyabb
  • Commonfolk Coffee Company, Mornington

Energy and water efficiency


  • Paradigm Hill, Merricks

Highly Commended:

  • Commonfolk Coffee Company (Energy), Mornington
  • Tyabb Village Children’s Centre (Water), Tyabb

Waste and recycling


  • Via Battisti, Mount Martha

Highly Commended:

  • Toorak Caterer’s, Mount Eliza
  • Lilo Café, Mornington

Nothing. It’s free! In fact, it saves you money. The Best Bites program not only comes at no cost to you but also helps you save money. Once your business is assessed across one or more of the three areas, you’ll receive a certificate to proudly display in your business along with a door sticker that highlights your participation in the program.

The Best Bites program welcomes a wide range of businesses with a registered food premise. Whether you run a – cafe, restaurant, food van, take-away shop, childcare centre, supermarket, aged care facility, bed and breakfast accommodation, or any other food related establishment, you can be part if this program.

To qualify for the Best Bites program, food businesses need to achieve a minimum 95% compliance on their annual Shire Food Safety Assessment. If you meet these criteria, you can then nominate your business to be assessed across the three areas of health and wellbeing, sustainability, and accessibility and inclusion by contacting an Environmental Health Officer. Phone them on 1300 850 600 or contact the team online. They will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary information to participate in the Best Bites program.

We have put together an abundance of resources to aid businesses in gaining a better understanding of the Best Bites program. There are many excellent online resources available to help you learn more about the program. Be inspired by other local businesses delivering excellence across the Best Bites categories, discover valuable resources to upskill staff, and learn from the success stories of other local food businesses in the award-winning Best Bites program. There are expert tips and tricks as well as a wealth of insights from experts for you to absorb and apply, so read on!

To stay informed about upcoming Best Bites workshops and learning opportunities, be sure to subscribe to our business newsletter. If you have any questions, please email us.

Upon completing the assessment, businesses receive a comprehensive assessment report. This valuable tool serves multiple purposes, allowing you to benchmark your business’s performance year after year, utilise it for staff training and identify areas where improvements can be made. We also highlight businesses that are demonstrating excellence through our business development articles on mpbusiness.com.au. This provides an additional avenue for showcasing your achievements and promoting your business.

Businesses involved in the Best Bites program report the following benefits:

  • Increased business promotion and marketing opportunities
  • Reduction in overhead and operational costs because of improvements made
  • Upskilling of staff and enhancement of professionalism within the business
  • Improved environmental and overall business sustainability
  • Growth in patronage and enhanced community wellbeing

The Best Bites program was collaboratively developed by a steering committee consisting of food businesses, consumers, and trader’s groups – including representatives from Peninsula Health, All Abilities Consultative Committee, Western Port Biosphere Reserve, Monash University, Second Bite, Heart Foundation, Mornington Peninsula Produce and Sustainability Victoria. Their diverse expertise and perspectives contributed to the program’s comprehensive approach.

In recognition of its excellence, the Best Bites program won the prestigious National Award for Economic Development Excellence in 2012. This accolade highlights the program’s exceptional contributions and impact on economic development.

The Best Bites program is coordinated by the Best Bites Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Peninsula Health, and other relevant organisations with knowledge and experience in the program areas of access and inclusion, nutrition, and sustainability. The committee operates under specific Terms of Reference to ensure effective guidance and decision making.

Email us if you’d like to be involved in the committee.

Best Bites Hospitality Programs

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